strings of nouns/adjectives

Joe Sprinkle jsprinkl at
Fri Sep 6 20:20:25 EDT 2002

> In Gen 1:20, the waters are to teem with "sherez nephesh chayyah"
> Now, is this two separate objects? Swarming things AND living, breathing
> things.
> Or a single object? Swarming, living breathing things.
> In the latter case, the noun sherez would function as an adjective.

Levin's view that it is construct makes sense.  However, it could also be
in appostion that explains the previous term: "Let the waters swarm with
swarming things [that are]living NEPHESH-es." In any case there is only
one object, not two. NEPHESH HAYYAH is a general one for "living beings,"
both among animals (Gen 1:20, 21, 24, 30; 2:19) and humans (Gen 2:7).
NEPHESH has a wide semantic range, including such meanings as breath,
appetite, person, self, life, desire, throat, and even (if rarely) corpse.
The possible meaning “breath” suggests he became a living, breathing
entity. However, that man in 2:7 became a LIVING nephesh implies that
before God breathed into him he may have been a dead or inanimate
NEPHESEH. Hence the primary sense is probably that of “person” or “being.”
That conclusion from Gen 2:7 then applies to the earlier passages, so the
various kinds of animals are like the man, "living beings."


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